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Released: Rosewood Abbey, Play-to-find-out Monastic Mysteries

Sat May 25 2024

Please meet my brand new game: Rosewood Abbey - The Play-to-find-out TTRPG of Monastic Mysteries.

You're one of the Fratres Herodoti. This informal brotherhood of scholars
swore an oath to knowledge and truth. Will you keep to your oath? your brothers and flock are bewitched by the rumors they spin?

Rosewood Abbey is a roleplaying game by Kalum from The Rolistes about upholding the truth no matter the consequences.

Buy it RIGHT NOW! It's already available in print (PDF included) via The Rolistes store, or in PDF only via or DrivethruRPG.

This Carved from Brindlewood (PbtA) game is inspired by Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose and the British mystery television series Cadfael.

Photomontage of Derek Jacobi and Sean Connery as monks, respectively from Cadfael and The Name of the Rose

Even THEM succumbed to the temptation!

The Game

Ideal for 3 to 6 players, Cantor included, the game works well for one-shots but truly shines for short campaigns, thanks to its unique "Rumor Mill" story-building mechanism. As a "Carved from Brindlewood" game, it is directly adapted from the roleplaying game Brindlewood Bay and build on Jason Cordova's Clue-based emergent whodunnit system.

Screenshot of the section page titled "The Game" featuring an evil-looking monk about to tab the title.

The book is illustrated with various public domain illustrations,
most notably prints by Jacob Gole based on sketches by Cornelis Dusart.
The game does not include any LLM/AI visuals.

Content Warning

Rosewood Abbey has roots in Walloon, Flemish, and European folklore, which is often irreverent towards religion. This game engages with images of the Catholic Church and God, as well as actions Christians consider to be sinful or virtuous. These actions can include crimes, blasphemy, intimate and sexual acts, as well as violence or murder.

Detail from a medieval painting showing a monk dining with two hosts in one room while another monk is in bed with a woman nextdoor.

Play only with explicit consent from all participants regarding themes
they are willing to engage with, or not.
(Source: Décaméron de Jehan Boccace - Wikimedia Commons)

While in continuation of the tradition paillarde, European bawdy folkloric tales and songs, Rosewood Abbey isn’t intended as a commentary on contemporary religious beliefs and practices. It is not a statement about divine interventions
in our own world (nervous laugh).


Between the 12th and the 13th centuries, the Abbazia di Palissandro was a monastery at the feet of the Alps in Northern Italy. A small village has developed within a reasonable walking distance. The monks feed the poor, care for the sick, and educate a few children. Interactions beyond these monastic responsibilities are something abbey authorities frown upon but not uncommon.

God, Devils, and Details

This game’s premise is that, for whatever reason, neither God nor malevolent spirits are active at the Abbazia di Palissandro. No secret society or sinister machination stands at the heart of the mysteries here.

Rosewood Abbey is about level-headed scholars surrounded by people increasingly caught up in their exaggerations, lies, and misguided beliefs.

The Ancient

An important figure in local folklore, the Ancient is the subject of speculation, wonder, and fear. The inquisitive Fratres Herodoti doubt such a character or creature ever existed. Regardless, the locals praise or blame the Ancient for events, good or bad. Check the Providence section to find out more.

Detail of a corner and margin of Rosewood Abbey showing a hairy figure crawling among trees.

The Ancient once spoiled a field with salt and blood,
and the abbey’s orchard now grows there.

Virtuous Figure, Sinful Figure

Once it’s time to fill in the first Obsession in the Rumor Mill (see below), the players must pick a character among the Suspects encountered through the current and previous Mysteries. This Suspect becomes the Virtuous Figure or Sinful Figure based on whether the Talk of the Moment is itself Virtuous or Sinful.

Detail of one of the books corner marginalia featuring a lady on her knees in prayer.

Virtuous or Sinful?

The Rumor Mill & Rumor Apocrypha

The Rumor Mill Sheet tracks the history, figures, and consequences of Rumors running wild at the abbey. It captures the phantasms troubling the monks and their flock, their intensity, and the characters impacted by them.

For each campaign, the Rumor Tracker’s size varies depending
on how many sessions the participants wish to play in that campaign.

The Rumor Apocrypha gathers tables for Delusions, Obsessions, and Delirium, each with rumor prompts categorized as Virtuous or Sinful.

These prompts can be used as is. However, transcribing isn’t and needn’t be that straightforward. Details might change when copied by overworked or flippant scribes under the spell of Titivillus, the demon of clerical errors.

The Rumor Apocrypha features three categories of prompts
matching the progression within the Rumor Mill: Delusions, Obsessions, and Delirium.
Each category has a Virtuous and Sinful table.

The Routine

This Routine functions as a framework for the Cantor and the players, offering a rhythm for narration. Use the Routine to aid the game’s improvisation and fiction; ignore it when it hinders those play elements.

Routine dial offering a diagramatic representation of the monks set daily activities.

Use the Routine to aid the game’s improvisation and fiction;
ignore it when it hinders those play elements.


As with Kalum's previous game Paris Gondo - The Life-Saving Magic of Inventorying, the game features a Replay.

Inspired by the TRPG (Tabletalk Roleplaying Game) format popular in Japan, the first half of this book comprises a transcript of a complete play session, edited for your enjoyment, to give you an overview of how the game works.

The Replay is the edited transcript of a full session
played as part of The Gauntlet (now Open Hearth) Gaming Community.

Wow! You read it all down here.

I praise you for your devotion.

I hope the above convinced you to step within the halls, around the cloister, and visit the nearby village of Rosewood Abbey.

If you do, please let us know about the mysteries you uncovered and the fate of your local Sinful Figure or Virtuous Figure.

Purchase it in print (PDF included) via The Rolistes store, as well as the PDF version via or DrivethruRPG.



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